SEA STORIES
 
Fishing Party
submitted by John White - circa 1945

While our ship was in Guam and after discharging the dredge, four or five other officers got permission from the skipper to use his gig to go fishing. We got a GI can, loaded it with ice and beer and took off for points about three to four miles off the island. After trolling for a few hours and all the time consuming beers, it was decided we would sound swim call.

While the boat was still underway with Warrant Electrician Legge at the helm and still trolling fishing lines, I dove off the boat. Legge (smart ass) put the throttle to the gig and left me alone for the length of time it took to go about a mile away before turning back to pick me up. I know I came down hard on him. My concern at the time was getting away from the lines we were trolling and secondly that these were shark infested waters.


 
Off Course
submitted by Harry Dick - circa 1945

We had traversed the canal and were headed toward Hawaii. The days were absolutely beautiful with calm ocean and flying fish and dolphins joining us along the way. Having had, several days of this, the Captain called for me as the Officer of the Deck to announce "Air Bedding" which I dutifully did.

Sometime later there appeared a small speck on the horizon which became a small cloud. This cloud hung to the surface of the ocean like a huge ball and was directly on the course we were steering. Having spent all my sea duty the previous two years in the Mediterranean, I had not seen the atmospheric phenomena before and was curious about it. Yes, I let the helmsman steer directly into this cloud and you can imagine what was inside. I donít think there was any snow or hail but there was one hell of a lot of rain and wind. Iím not sure how many mattresses were blown overboard but everything was absolutely soaked.

My first concern was with the Captain as he stormed to the bridge to ask "What the hell are you doing?" and I really believe he said "Mr. Dick, donít do that again". My second concern was with the crew as all their gear was soaked. However, the sun came out again and things dried up in a hurry. I am sure the crew had a good laugh at the 90 day wonder.


 
USS Hilo
submitted by Maury White - circa 1945

The Hilo was a converted yacht serving as a tender and the flagship for the PT boats in the South Pacific. I started as assistant gunnery officer for the ship and the flag and eventually became the gunnery office for both. I joined the ship at Milne Bay, New Guinea and we helped clean up New Britain and the Dutch East Indies prior to the Leyte landings where I, and I guess the world, was introduced to the kamikaze pilot. I was detached with the firing still going on and sort of hitch-hiked my way back to Pearl, greasing my way on planes with a few unregistered guns and Jap souvenirs I had thought to bring along.

No matter what you read about one of the battleships being the only U.S. Navy ship to have a bathtub (the Missouri installed one for when Truman was aboard signing the peace documents), the Hilo had two bathtubs. After rising to gunnery officer, I shared one of the rooms so equipped.

One day Major Tommy McGuire crashed his P-38 (most beautiful plane ever) into the ocean and one of our PT boats was nearby. He was brought aboard the Hilo and found to have suffered only two black eyes. In his time under observation, we hit it off and worked out a wonderful deal. Those pilots regularly were sent to Sydney for R&R while we remained on station. Every Wednesday afternoon, Tommy and a friend would visit the Hilo, each with a bottle of scotch beneath his shirt. As repayment, my roommate and I would let them take a nap on our beds, a bath in our tub, and drink all the cold water they chose to drink.

Not too long later, after declining to go home and to fly more missions, Tommy bought the farm. As one of the leading aces ever, his name was attached to the air base in New Jersey which I believe is now closed.


 
Card Game
submitted by John White - circa 1945

At some point we were transporting Army or Air Force officers to one of the islands. I believe it was from Guam to Okinawa. They were anxious to have a card game and wanted one of the shipís officers to participate. No one was interested and even though I had the 0400 to 0800 watch, I agreed to play. My intention was to limit my losses and then get out. Well, the game started out with playing five and seven card stud and five card draw with nothing wild and the wager being twenty-five cents with a limit of three raises. It didnít take long before the ante went up to fifty cents and then to pot limit. I could do nothing wrong - drawing inside straights, etc. Finally, around midnight the game broke up with my winning well over $100.00. I was so keyed up that it was shortly before being called for the watch that I fell asleep. I offered them a return game the following night but they were not interested.

 
Shipís Doctor/Typhoon
submitted by Ted Berry - circa 1945

I was reminded of this story when Harry mentioned the typhoon we encountered going from Wakayama to Okinawa after having picked up prisoners of war.

As you may recall, the prisoners were for the most part in pretty bad shape physically. Especially the Australians because apparently they were more defiant toward their captors than the Dutch. Most of them had beri-beri and other deficiency diseases, and there was a steady stream of visitors to the Sick Bay with complaints related to their horrible diet and cruel treatment by the Japs.

It took several long days until I had seen the sickest men, and carried out a kind of triage to hold them over until they reached better equipped medical facilities. When I had just about seen them all, the CO of the group, a handsome tall and straight gray hair officer came in to see me. After being assured all the other men had been "treated", he asked me to kindly look at his neck. When he pulled his collar away, I saw the worst looking carbuncle I had ever seen. It was about half the size of a baseball and almost as hard. I told him it needed to be opened, drained and packed, and he asked if I would do it. Local anesthesia would make it almost tolerable, but a general anesthesia, which we werenít able to administer, would have been most preferable. He refused even the local anesthetic (which would have eased the discomfort at least a tiny bit) advising me to "save the medicine - just go ahead and open it."

Chief Higgs assisted me by holding the commanderís head still from the front as he sat on a stool facing Higgs. He opted to sit on a stool for the procedure. Using a wide criss-cross incision, I laid the back of his neck open and released a pint of corruption - no anesthesia - and I thought Higgs would pass out. The commander never blinked. What an unbelievable stoic he was. I packed at least ten yards of gauze into the wound and applied a big bulky dressing. After which he rose, thanked me graciously and saluted. And then he left, walking as straight as though he were a military school cadet. Internists ordinarily are not called on to deal with such problems. He was one hell of a man.

I often wonder if all those prisoners made it safely back to Okinawa or if some of them went over the side in that terrible storm. I have a feeling they thought they would have been better off in the prison camp.


 
Growing A Mustache
submitted by John White - circa 1945

My roommate had black hair and a beautiful black mustache. Well, with my being fair but still feeling that a mustache was the thing to have, I promptly began to grow one. It was good looking - if only you could notice it.

The first time the ship shared a port with a hospital ship, I decided that was the place to get a decent haircut since they surely had qualified barbers, plus nurses and all. When the barber had finished, I asked what would make the mustache more noticeable. He broke out a mascara pencil and touched it up. Looked great.

However, on the way back it was rough and we were shipping water. A fair amount splashed onto my face and, when I walked up the gangway, those standing watch began to laugh. When I asked indignantly what was so funny? they suggested looking into a mirror. The mascara had run down both sides of my face leaving me looking a fright. After that, I continued to use the pencil but was careful to stay dry.

Sadly that mustache lasted no more than fifteen minutes after my wife saw it. "You look like a wolf. Either take it off or I will remove it hair by hair," she declared. That was the end of ever wearing a mustache.


 
Farewell Celebration/Eleanor
submitted by Harry Dick - circa 1945

One of my last memories of the Cabildo was the last day, or near to it, that I was on board before disembarking in Manila for home. I was in Dr. Ted Berryís stateroom along with Blanchard, a Warrant Officer and George Olson, our Engineering Officer. This group was going home and the doctor was buying us a fairwell drink. The W.O. Iím sure was supply because he was telling us about "Eleanor". Eleanor, in this case, was a small black satchel large enough to carry a gallon jug of straight grain alcohol and room enough also to hold a quart soda bottle and a small funnel.

We were all on cloud nine and couldnít wait to take Eleanor to the Officerís Club which was an Army tent built on a small hillside. There were wooden walks consisting of 2x4ís nailed to 4x6 stringers connecting the tents, making up the mess hall and Officers Club.

We put Olson to bed about 9 p.m., then returned to see if Eleanor was okay. The piano player had shown up. I love to sing the old favorites and would feed the piano player the next tune. The unfortunate part is that I canít carry a tune, but we sang up a storm and continued visiting with Eleanor.


 
Manila, P.I.
submitted by John White - circa 1945

I donít know if any of you went ashore in Manila, but if you did you will remember the conditions on the dock where our liberty boats made their landing. I was assigned as shore patrol officer along with a gunners mate and boatswains mate whose names I cannot at this time recall. I do remember the following quite well.

First of all, there was a sign posted showing the number of drowning to date. This was caused because the boats moored four and five abreast which required sailors to walk over as many boats as necessary to get to theirs. Some, with too much to drink, would lose their balance and fall into swift current, never to be seen again.

Another thing that stands out in my mind was the deplorable conditions under which the Marines were treating those sailors who were out of their minds from rotten Philippine booze. There was a confined area where sailors in the whites were groveling in the dirt. Most depressing.



 
Midnight Ride
submitted by Al Sinclair - circa 1946

A bunch of the crew of the engine room gang went to Tokyo on the railroad. We spent the day looking around and went to see General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz leave the big administration building. As we were waiting for our train back to Yokosuka, I saw a conductor leaning o of the door of a fast moving train, blowing a whistle with a chain hanging down. As he went by I reached out and pulled it right out of his mouth, ha ha big joke.

A few days later we used the train again to go to a town about half way between Yokosuka and Tokyo to a special Geisha house for a kind of party. I fell asleep and my so-called buddies left without me. I woke after midnight, passed the eleven oíclock curfew. I was, as can be understood, very upset.

The Army was now in possession of the place and they made me make a fast retreat. I made my way to the train station only to find that the trains were shut down for the night. There were two men in the control tower and after a lot of hand talk and being persistent, they brought out a train to take me back to Yokosuka. I gave them some yen and got on the train.

It was dark in the car, no lights, but I could see four men plus the engineer. It didnít look very good to me. They were talking and staring at me, making gestures with hand motions. Not funny talk, no laughter. My heart started thumping as I realized I was the only one who knew I was aboard that train. As the train rattled along I became very, very scared. I tried to look unconcerned - tough like. I kept thinking about where these Japs were from - were they ex-soldiers, had they lost a brother or someone in the war. I lit a cigarette, and offered them to the Japs. Only one accepted my offer and as I lit it for him, I saw the face of the whistle blowing conductor. He was staring right at me, glaring. Now I thought I would never make it back to Yokosuka.

I tried to make a plan of what to do if they tried to jump me. Tried to pick which one to hit first. As I was getting myself ready to be killed, holding my water in, the train rolled into the station. The relief was tremendous. When the door opened I gave them all the yen I had and flew off that train. I ran all the way to the Naval yard and two Marines pushed me over the gate in the way and into a bunch of broken boats and trucks. But I didnít care. I was glad to be alive.

.


 
Raisin Jack
submitted by George Stokem - circa 1945

Someone in the "N" division got the idea we should make some "raisin jack", a home-brewed adult beverage. There was a hot plate, used for making coffee, in the signal shack so this site was chosen as our laboratory.

We managed to con the ingredients from the cooks and started the project, placing the finished product in large glass jars, five gallons or less, then stashed the jars in the signal locker behind the flags.

The brewing process went on for some time and I will never understand why we were not discovered, the signal shack being located by the mast and only a few feet from where you came off the flying bridge.

The smell of the stuff cooking was strong and I'm sure some of the officers must have noticed, but none spoke up. One day, after getting word there would be an inspection the next morning, we decided to have a party that night and get rid of the evidence.

The signal shack was small, about 6'x 9' with a table and chair taking up a good deal of the space. Yet, after dark that night, it was the most popular cubicle on the ship, standing room only inside and some having to do their sipping outside.

I beat the crowd by sitting under the table, as did another of the brewmasters. When ready for another drink, we'd simply tap someone on the leg, pass up the empty glass and be treated to a refill.

The party broke up just before daybreak and we all were feeling mighty mellow. Still alert enough, however, to realize we had to get rid of the one bottle of raisin jack that hadn't been consumed. The Cabildo was underway at the time so we decided to drop it over the side. When the jar hit the water, there was a mighty bang as it exploded, giving us the biggest laugh of a glorious night.

A few hours later, with heads that felt the size of blimps, many sailors lined up for and passed the inspection


 
Castor Oil & The Navy
submitted by Dr. Ted Berry - circa 1945

Castor oil is good for only two things: (1) In pregnancy at term it helps get labor in to high gear and (2) Itís not a bad furniture polish.

Yet, the Supply Department of the United States Navy, in its infinite though often misunderstood wisdom, saw fir to allot a hundred gallons of castor oil in one gallon tins, to the USS Cabildo when she was outfitted at Newport News, Va. Our quota of Leroux brandy for "medicinal purposes" was also misjudged - on the high side - but somehow we foundways to deal with that error. But, with virtually no pregnant women aboard and very little wooden furniture, there was serious doubt we would need all that castor oil.

In todayís world, such mistakes are commonly blamed on computer error. In 1945, it was called SNAFU, as in Situation Normal, All F.U.

Before such practices were declared illegal, certain vegetable oils were used quite effectively in bar rooms everywhere. Plant extracts with proper Latin names like Oleum Ricini and Oleum Crotonii were better know to bar patrons as "Mickeyís" or "Shoo-Flies". In the days before piano bars and tuxedoed bouncers, bartenders quelled the occasional unruly customer with drop or two of croton oil slipped into his drink. Meanwhile, the better behaved and knowledgeable patrons made bets whether the victim would make it to the door in time.

Our Chief Pharmacist Mate, a 'regular Navy man" names Higgs, had his own special methods for reducing the stream of malingerers at daily Sick Call. The Chief was a short, chubby person with a small Hitler-type mustache and a wry sense of humor. He had his own quaint vocabulary for describing crew members who took up his valuable time with spurious complaints. He was certain most, if not all, of their problems would disappear like magic after we got to sea.

To thin attendance at Sick Call, Higgs devised a way that not only discouraged those with bogus ailments, but also cut into our surplus of castor oil. You guessed it!...Heíd give a dose of oil to anybody who met his criteria for goldbricking, delivering it personally on a large spoon directly into the complainerís mouth. And he insisted on watching the patient until the oil went down.

When I learned through channels what Higgs was up to, I issued a stern warning. If nobody needs induction of labor, or their furniture polished, nobody gets castor oil.

Even back in those early days, before ecology and the Exxon spill were popular household topics, I was reluctant to throw all that oil overboard. We thought of how much havoc such a thing would cause amongst the marine life.

Uncharacteristically, Chief Higgs failed to follow my orders and continued, albeit at a slower pace, to deplete our castor oil stores. It was necessary for morale purposes, I decided, to issue a threat.

"The next time I hear of you giving castor oil to one of the men, Iím going to give you a dose too. Furthermore, get some of the boys to help you and throw all that oil over the side --today." Higgs, regular Navy man that he was, saluted and did a fairly decent, but definitely exaggerated about face and went away.

Whatever his faults, Higgs was not one give to waste, including a storeroom full of supplies paid for by hard working taxpayers at home. A short time afterthe warning mentioned above, I entered the Sick Bay and saw Higgs speaking to a sailor whose back was to me, and the Chief facing him, with a spoon leaking oil, and about to shove it home. When he saw me approaching from behind the patient, Higgs stopped the spoon in mid-air, turned it around, aimed it toward himself, shot up his eyebrows, shut his eyes and took the dose himself. Disciplined as always, he even licked the spoon. Even had the gall to smile, as if he liked it. No dialogue accompanied the entire vignette; words seemed unnecessary at that moment. The patient stood open-mouthed, thoroughly confused.

Higgs dismissed the patient and went into my office without comment, drew the curtain and meditated.


 
Typhoon/Minesweeper
submitted by Irwin Clamage - circa 1945

A friend of John White and skipper of the YMS-193 Motor Minesweeper had this story to relate after reading POWs and Typhoon.

"I spent about 20 minutes on your website today. The bit about the typhoon really hit home. Did I ever tell you that in August of 1945 our YMS-193 left Guam in a convoy on the way to Japan to sweep the mines there. As we were approaching Okinawa, we were caught in the typhoon, I believe the same one your ship was in.

The description of the seas written about was true. We almost lost our ship and all hands in that one. You know of the size of our boat, 128í x 28í, all wood and the highest point on the bridge was 28í. Commanding the helm from the flying bridge was frightening - no matter which way we looked up all we saw was water. We first lost power to the port screw at 1600 and then at 2000 we lost power to the starboard screw. So we were at the mercy of the sea, tossed about like a cork. Our ship was beat to hell.

We sent SOS messages by radio and it took some time before our message was acknowledged as the airwaves were crowded with the same message. We learned later that all the capital ships and some smaller craft e.g. sub chasers, etc. steamed out to sea to ride out the storm. It was really horrible - some ships were beached on the rocks. Others were sunk and bodies half eaten by sharks were washed ashore. We were fortunate to have survived."


 
Rocking & Rolling
submitted by Don Stokes - circa 1946


On April 28, 1968, I reported aboard the Cabildo when she was in Long Beach, fully loaded and ready to deploy for WESTPAC. My orders were to relieve RM1 Rook who left the ship in Pearl Harbor on May 9th, leaving me as leading radioman. Much later in the cruise, RMC West reported onboard.

We left Pearl enroute to Subic Bay on May 11th, in company with the USS Carter Hall (LSD-3) and encountered heavy seas for most of the trip. We received word that the Carter Hall had lost the use of their teletype equipment and were down to their last printer and were without a qualified tty repairman. This made it necessary for me to be transferred to their ship to do the repair.

Talk about a "D" rocking & rolling, try having two of them side by side in other than calm seas with me on a highline rig sitting in a boatswain chair. What a ride it was and one I will never forget.

The following submitted by Michael J. Leonard - circa 1967

During that cruise our visit to Keelung, Taiwan was cut short, because of an approaching typhoon, one of three we were able to enjoy that year. As we left the protected harbor, Cabildoís bow rose out of the sea like a dragster leaving the line. The anchor detail on the focísle scrambled for hatches as the ship made its downward fall. Cabildo took green water over her lifelines ..one or two unfortunate souls didnít make it through the hatches in time..fortunately for them though all they did was get wet.

Later that same day as I was standing watch as the port lookout, with no life jacket or safety lines, we took a large roll to port and then an even farther roll to starboard before resuming moderate rolls..through the headphones we were told 48 and 52 degrees respectively and were immediately required to don life jackets. Such is life on a flat bottomed gator.


 :
Bosun and the Tuna
submitted by Warren Gammeter - circa 1964

We had taken several SEALS to, I believe, Anapaca Island for some exercise. We put them in the water on the west coast of the island and went around the east side and were just passing the hours by steaming with just enough headway for steerage. Mid afternoon we got a radio message to proceed back and pick them up. We rang up all ahead two-thirds and no sooner than the engine room telegraph answered when the bridge phone rang. It was an animated voice from the starboard wingwall ďCan you slow down - the Bosun just hooked a tuna and needs a few minutes to land itĒ ring-ring.

 
Collision at Sea
submitted by Dave Threlfall - circa 1955

I reported for duty on the Cabildo in May or June of 1955 at the Naval Depot in San Pedro, Cal., fresh our of pipefitters ďAĒ school. My rating was FPFN (fitter pipe fireman). When I first saw the ship she was off-loading automobiles and I wondered if I was reporting to a ferry boat or an auto theft ring. In January of 1956, we left Long Beach, headed for Yokosuka, Japan and went 30 or 31 days without seeing land. During that time we experienced several storms that rolled us up to 45 degrees. Happily, at age 19, I think I was too young to be scared. About midway through the trip, the Cabildo got a mail delivery that none of the crew members will have forgotten. An APA was passing guard mail from her aft starboard gun mount to our people on the port side of the 02 level.

Quick as a wink, or at least thatís how fast it seemed to happen, a large swell pushed the APA towards us and her fantail swing into the side of the Cabildo with a mighty thud. Possibly even with a clang. The damage to the Cabildo was a large dent above the waterline and several bent frames in the emergency fire-pump room. We shored the damage while the engineering officers came up with a repair plan.

Alas, for crew members anticipating a bit of extra liberty, and that takes in 99.9 percent of crew members, our engineers had been too efficient. Upon arriving in Yokosuka thinking we would be sent to Sasabo for repairs, we were judged sea worthy and immediately dispatched on a three-week trip to Iwo Jima. The extra time in port would have been nice but the trip to Iwo Jima produced a memory as indelible as the collision at sea. Crew members were given a helicopter ride around the island and to Mt. Surabachi, getting a much better understanding of the terrible, bloody campaign earlier soldiers and sailors had waged in taking this important island from the Japanese. That ride really brought it home how much our men gave so we can be free.



 
Ordered Out of Port
submitted by Del Aldridge - circa 1955

This is the saga of a 1958 visit by the Cabildo to Adak, Alaska when the ship was literaly thrown out of the port, a terrible thing for a CO's record. It started when we departed for a 7-month cruise (cruises always started as 7 but wound up as 9 months) and headed for Adak.

It was cold, cold COLD. I have pictures of ice hanging from the lifelines. We had onboard a detachment of Seals (may have been UDT at that time), who bugged the CO daily to stop the ship so they could swim amongst the icebergs. They did their daily workouts on the helo deck wearing only shorts when it was positively frigid. We all thought they were nuts.

Adak was an unusual place. Hundreds of men were stationed there, but only one or two women. There was a bus constantly circling the island for transportation. The rules were (l) If a female got on the bus, you were not allowed to strike up a conversation (2) Or sit within one seat of her in any direction.

There was a nice enlisted men's club featuring an enormous plate glass window looking out over the base. Since there was so little else offered in the way of recreation on this rock, the club was a popular place to relax by having a few drinks. The Seals were amoung the more regular customers. Their unusual drinking customs included taking off shoes, filling them with beer, then passing them around to be swigged from as they loudly sang various songs, some cute and some not so cute, some decent and some indecent.

This one night, I left the club when it started getting dark. We were scheduled to depart the next morning but, about 2000 word came booming over the speakers that all stations should be manned as we would be getting underway as soon as humanly possible.

It turned out that the Seals had continued playing drinking games until enough others in the club objected to their deportment and a genuine free-style brawl broke out. The high point of the fighting came when a Seal threw a table through that enormous glass window.

That was also the low point of the conflict, instrumental in our being ordered out of port.



 
Sailor's Life
submitted by Larry Burkhalter - circa 1955

An organizer for a merchant seamansí union in the late 1800s, Andrew Furuseth, was asked why he die not fear being placed in jail for disobeying a court injunction to end his activities. After many years at sea, he respond, ďyou can put me in jail, but you cannot give me narrower quarters than as a seaman I have always had. You cannot give me coarser food than I have always eaten. You cannot make me lonelier than I have always beenĒ.

 
Historic Invasion Repeated
submitted by George White - circa 1952
(USS Cabildo participated in this operation)

U.S. Marines Return To Iwo Jima
With Task Force 90 off Iow Jima, March 21(Sunday) -- The U.S. 3rd Marine Division returns to Iwo Jima today, going ashore in the largest amphibious training exercise since World War II.

Targets of the mock invasion is the same volcanic beach which the marines stormed February 19, 1945, to open one of the most vicious battles in history. Some of the officers and men in todayís operation took part in the real one which killed 4,503 marines and more than 22,000 Japanese.

Barring unfavorable weather the first wave of 3,600 marines lands at 1 p.m. after a simulated pre-invations bombardment by the 7th Fleet warships and planes. Twelve thousand more will follow in.

The enemy today was the 2nd Battalion of the 4th Marine Regiment, which also has planes and ships to resist the assault.

Still on the landing beach are the rusted frames of landing craft blown up in 1945. Expended shells, shattered helmets and other debris also are there.

Atop Mt. Suribachi, a 550-foot, cone-shaped, extinct volcano at the southern tip, and American flag flies where the marines planted it February 23, 1945.

It is one of two places in the world where the American flag never is taken down. The other is the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington.

The 3rd division was brought to Iwo Jima by Navy Task Force 90, the group which put the 1st Marine Division and the 7th Army Division ashore at Inchon, near Seoul, in 1950 during the Korean War.

Gen. MacArthurís old command ship, the Mt. McKinley, is the control vessel. Vice Admiral Alfred M. Pride, commander of the 7th Fleet, is overall commander aboard the battleship Wisconsin.

Major General J.M. Will commands Task Force 90. Rear Admiral T.C. Ragan leads the cruiser division from the USS Toledo. Rear Admiral J.P. Whitney is commander of Carrier Division 5.

Colonel W.O. Thompson leads the enemy force.


 
Stolen Property/Doing The Right Thing
submitted by Norge Santin - circa 1945-46

While transporting Australians who had been prisoners-of-war from Wakanura, Japan to Okinawa, I struck up a relationship with an Australian by the name of R.J. Metz. During this time he related some interesting events that had happened during his years of imprisonment. He had been captured at the fall of Singapore in early 1942 along with Javanese who are now part of the Indonesian Nation.

While working in the copper mines near Osaka, the Australians in particular were not fed well. Those of us aboard the Cabildo were sickened by their emaciated physical condition. They had endured hardships beyond our imagination. On one occasion when Metz had stolen some extra rice, he was punished by having nails driven into the webbing of his fingers and toes while being strapped to a board for 24 hours. He showed me the scars resulting from this terrible punishment. In spite of having forgone this punishment, Metz again stole rice and this time he was bound to a board with wire and thrown into a locker for 24 hours.

As you may well understand, Metz made quite an impression with me during his time onboard the Cabildo and I more or less became his personal guardian.

Shortly after the Japanese surrender the U.S. flew in food, clothing and medicine which were dropped by parachute. Metz was fortunate enough to retrieve one of the parachutes and sometime between the surrender and his being set free, and asked a Japanese woman to make a shirt for him from the material. This was not unusual since other prisoners had clothing made by women residing in the area of the copper mines.

While onboard the Cabildo, Metz stored the shirt under his bunk. While at sea, one of the shipís company confiscated (stole) his shirt and stored it with his personal belongs. Metz came to me and reported that the shirt may have either been stolen or taken by the Javanese and asking if I would be on the lookout for his shirt. I learned who had taken the shirt when it was being displayed to shipmates in the 1st Division compartment. The confiscator was telling those around him that he had found it up on deck.

At a later time when I saw him with the item in his hand I asked where on deck he had found it. I donít recall his answer but I did ask him to return it to Metz. He became highly indignant, refusing to return the shirt or to turn it over to me. A scuffle followed without witnesses stepping forward, their preferring to see a knock down, drag out fight which I was prepared to do but the perpetrator did backed down. Later I returned the shirt to Metz who tearfully accepted it with grateful thanks. I did not tell Metz or anyone else where or under what conditions I found the shirt and did not report the matter to higher authorities.

Metz and I wrote to each other for many years and he always expressed his thanks for the recovery of the shirt which obviously meant a great deal to him. He always remembered the return of his shirt as being one of the highlights of his many experiences.
 

Kamikazi Attacks
submitted by Harry Dick- circa 1945

It was just about four or five nights after we arrived in Buckner Bay. I had the deck as was normal for entering harbor and the Captain was on the bridge and had the conn. The bay was filled with ships and as I remember our anchor assignment was very vague but the skipper said to find a spot large enough and drop anchor. Old Captain Holdorff was his usual self and none of the spots I picked were to his satisfaction and we kept zigging and zagging our way through all these ships heading closer and closer towards where the liberty boats docked. I swear the spot we picked was not large enough for my old minesweeper and I had had some experience with dragging anchor before, but drop it we did and believe we were the largest ship closest to the landing dock. I think that made the Captain some points with someone.

But back to the air raid. I had a fraternity brother on the island and Holdorff allowed me to go ashore for the day to try to look him up. I was successful and brought him back to the ship for dinner, movies and stay the night. I had promised him steak, ice cream and a movie. He got the steak and ice cream but only about half of the movie when we had an alert and as I remember a single plane flew over and we had a lot of AA. My army buddy was trying to dig a foxhoe in the bridge deck and as scared as anyone Iíve ever seen, feeling more exposed on the ship. About two hours later all clear sounded and I took Bill back to the security of Mother Earth.

I understood the only thing dropped was a torpedo and it ended up on land. To my knowledge that was the last air raid at Buckner Bay.

The following submitted by Dr. Ted Berry - circa 1945

My memory is hazy, but I seem to remember the night when we had eight or nine General Quarters alarms and the harbor was flooded with smoke screen. If Iím not mistaken one of the Kamikazi hit the stern of the cruiser USS Philadelphia which was moored not far from us at Buckner Bay. I canít believe I imagined all this. What I do recall is that I slept through one of the General Quarters alarms - unknowingly - and my roommate Sherm Levin told me about it the next morning.

 
Outfoxing The Marines
submitted by Jack Thompson - circa 1961-63

If you have ever stood a mid-watch on the Cabildo you know that the "mid-rats" were not gourmet delights. My underway watch was helmsman and in the pilot house at any given time, while underway, the watch consisted a helmsman, lee-helmsman, petty officer of the watch and a lookout, rotating through the pilot house. On one operation we had a contingent of Marines aboard, along with all their equipment. The flight deck was loaded with trucks full of their gear.

The pilot house that night was it's usually quiet self, with brief bursts of conversation. Inevitably the talk got around to how much we looked forward to the mid-rations. Then, enterprising as we were, someone came up with the idea of "liberating" some of the C rations that the Marines were holding hostage. Several of us eased back to the flight deck, and since Marines are always required to guard something, there were two sentries posted back aft that we managed to avoid. We found several cases of C rations and made our way back to the pilot house. We were thrilled that now we would have mid-rats of eggs, ham, biscuits, jam, pork and beans.

Our stash was well hidden and the select few few didn't have to eat standard mid-rations for quite a while. As far as I know, the Marines never knew that they had been out-foxed by some "swabs".


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